Tulane falls to Navy by two after hard-fought game

The Green Wave came to Annapolis, Maryland, looking to change history last Saturday, following a record of losses to the Navy Midshipmen since 2005. The win against Grambling State seemed to have put some momentum behind the team as it started out strong, but an injury to starting quarterback Jonathan Banks and a series of missteps ultimately resulted in Tulane losing its first conference game of the season.

The first quarter saw Tulane’s defense up with an early interception by redshirt junior Parry Nickerson, which prevented a Navy touchdown. But a strong second drive led by Navy quarterback Zach Abey, including a 54-yard run, put the Midshipmen in the lead 7-0. The remainder of the quarter ended with strong defense from both sides and empty drives with few results.

The second quarter looked more positive for the Green Wave. Navy’s offense had a good rhythm and moved the ball well running the triple option, but it tripped up when Tulane defensive end Luke Jackson forced a fumble that sophomore safety Roderic Teamer then took for a 52-yard touchdown. Shortly after Tulane got its momentum going, however, quarterback Banks was pulled out with an apparent rib injury after a hard hit. The rest of the game went to sophomore quarterback Jonathan Brantley, who immediately pulled off a run of 42 yards for a touchdown, giving Tulane the lead.

Tulane started to fall apart as the third quarter went on, culminating in missed tackles and a variety of injuries. Redshirt senior defensive end Quinlan Carroll received a targeting penalty and was ejected from the game and additionally suspended from the first half of the game against the Oklahoma Sooners this Saturday. Navy brought the score up to 23-13, and Tulane made a couple of attempts to go for it on fourth down with a yard to go, with a conversion afterward. Jonathan Banks sat on the sideline out of uniform.

The Green Wave tried to bring a revamped offense into the fourth quarter. Senior running back Dontrell Hilliard, who the team relied on for some strong runs in the third quarter, ended a 15-play drive with a touchdown, pulling Tulane up to 21. Navy took control of the ball but was then sacked back to the 44-yard line after going for it on fourth down, where Tulane took back control. Brantley took the ball to the 37-yard line, where Tulane was penalized for holding. The Wave attempted a fourth down pass that fell incomplete, and Navy attempted to run down the clock. The Wave was then called for having too many men on the field during a punt. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo sent his offense back onto the field for a successful fourth down conversion with less than a minute on the clock. The game ended with the Green Wave falling by a score 23-21.

Grant Barnes contributed reporting to this story.